Rerun Junkie–Guest Stars: Boy George on The A-Team

Season 4 of The A-Team featured a lot of what I call stunt casting: guest stars that are extremely popular at the time and are put on a show to capitalize on that. Now there can be a fine line between a genuine guest starring role and a stunt casting, but you’ll know it when you see it because you really can’t ignore it.

During The A-Team’s fourth season, they had Hulk Hogan (twice!), Rick James, Pat Sajak and Vanna White had cameos because Murdock went on Wheel of Fortune for some reason, and, of course, there was Boy George.

I know, right?

The episode is called “Cowboy George” and the basic plot is Face is doing some talent booking, working with some dude named Dash, who screws him over on his contract by exercising a clause that allows for substitutions. So instead of getting Cowboy George for some honkytonk gig, he gets Boy George and Culture Club, who have been led to believe they’re going to be playing the Arizona Forum, not a dance hall called The Floor ’em. This poses a problem to LQ Jones, who demanded Cowboy George to insure the show would be a sellout. The he and his buddies could rob the audience’s payroll. To get help get out of the jam, Hannibal impersonates Cowboy George, but Boy George and Culture Club perform, which first angers and then charms the audience. The A-Team also thwarts the robbery and takes the bad guys to the sheriff, but it turns out the local replacement sheriff isn’t really a sheriff; he’s in on the whole thing, too, and the real sheriff is dead in one of the cells were Hannibal, BA, and Face are being held. Outside, a mob of angry workers are trying to break in to hang them because they think the three men stole their payroll. Which means it’s up to Murdock (who has an obsession with the Lennon Sisters in this episode) and Boy George to get them out of trouble.

Now, here’s why I think this is the greatest bit of guest casting in the history of television.

Unlike the Hulk Hogan or Rick James episodes (which I enjoy, don’t get me wrong), The A-Team aren’t hired by Boy George to do a job. They just sort of stumble into this scenario and Boy George happens to be involved and he goes along for the ride.

And he is clearly having a good time.

Boy George is an amiable guy, willing to cut down the band’s contracted fee from $1.2 million to $600,000 and he’s confident that Culture Club can draw the kind of crowd necessary to make that kind of money if they can get some advertising. Everyone loves Culture Club (fact check: this is true). He’s not put off by the booing rednecks, either, though his first impression of the dance hall isn’t the best. He and the band go out and start their set. Of course, the crowd falls in love with them.

When the trouble starts and Face, Hannibal, and BA get thrown in jail, the not-sheriff interrupts the show to tell the crowd what happened to their payroll, hoping to work up a lynch mob. It’s Boy George to the rescue. He acts quickly, going to the radio station where Murdock has locked himself in a booth to both get publicity for the Culture Club shows, and to also play every Lennon Sisters song he can get access to.

The two of them then break into a shop because they need some supplies and a plan to save the guys. Murdock struggles to pick the lock, even when Boy George provides him with a bobby pin. In the end, Boy George just kicks the door in. He even has a funny quip!

Murdock: See, a really honest man doesn’t really have an appetite for this sort of thing.

Boy George: Yeah, but who needs honesty?

Isn’t that great?!

Murdock gets the idea to smuggle some explosives into the besieged jail by dressing up as the pregnant wife of one of the guys and Boy George gives helpful critiques of Murdock’s clothing choices.

Boy George rides along after the jailbreak to stop the bad guys at the airport. And then he and Culture Club perform one final song for a very pleased crowd of cowboys.

I know. It sounds ludicrous. It shouldn’t work at all. And it probably would fall absolutely flat if not for Boy George being slightly amused the whole time. It’s not that he doesn’t take any of it seriously. He’s not goofing nor is he acting like it’s all beneath him. He comes across as very oh-you-crazy-yanks bemused and decides to enjoy the craziness. He gets the spirit of a show in which cars flip and explode and the people in them crawl out looking a little disoriented and disheveled.

Boy George brings the joy to the episode. Pure, blessed joy.

And we are all better for it.

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The New Day Job

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Now that I’ve been working at this new day job gig for a little over three weeks and we’re nametag official, I suppose I can fill folks in on the details.

I’m working as a clerk at the local library part time. Right now the hours are perfect for me. I make enough to pay the bills, but I also have time to write and podcast. Though the job is a lot more than just shelving books and checking them out, it’s not stressful. There is always someone nearby to answer any questions and so far, the training I’ve received has been very good. And thankfully, I’m getting the hang of things. It’s quite the departure from the last day job.

I know what you’re thinking. A writer working at a library? It’s perfect! Well, yeah, sorta.

For one thing, it’s exposing me to books outside of my reading comfort zones (which I’ve been trying to do in the last few years anyway). It’s also exposing me to books that I’d never read, but it’s still good to know they exist. Like Amish romances. I had no idea these were so popular, but let me tell you, we carry a lot. So, it’s definitely inspiring me to read more, which will hopefully translate to me reading more consistently so I can read more.

On the flip side, it reminds me of how much I’m not accomplishing. Processing all of the new books reminds me of the ones that are sitting unpublished or unfinished on my hard drive. I want to say that it inspires me to work, but so far it’s just been a bit disheartening. I see all of those books and I can’t find my place.

Though if there are readers for Amish romances, then I’m sure there are people out there that want to read whatever it is I write. Something for everyone, right?

Sure.

In the meantime, I suppose I better get to work.

August Writing Projects

So, it turns out that I was more productive than anticipated last month. Not only did I get the preview stories for Season 4 and Season 5 of Murderville done, I also got the cryptic teaser poems I do for $2 patrons finished and started work on the final revision/polish of Season 4 and Season 5.

That will be my goal for this month. Finishing the final polish on both seasons, getting everything formatted and scheduled and ready to go. If all goes well this month, Murderville will be finished. Well, everything except patrons reading it, of course.

However, there’s been an important life change since last month.

I got a new day job. The hours for this gig are steady and the gig itself should be far less stressful than the last one, which should help keep me pretty consistent when it comes to the writing side of life. But it’s going to be a bit of trial and error getting both schedules to work together in the best way. And there’s also the podcast to think about. I’d like to keep a reasonably regular production on that.

So, we’ll see how it all goes.

Speaking of Book ’em, Danno, episode two is up, discussing the first two regular hour long episodes of season 1, “Full Fathom Five” and “Strangers in Our Own Land”. So, be sure to give that a listen.

And the very last episode of Murderville: Rounds of Luck goes live on August 13th. But last is never too late. Become a patron for $1 an episode, or become a $2 an episode patron and get a nifty bonus every other month, like the one dropping at the end of this one, which is the Season 4 teaser poem.

 

I Think I’m Okay

Back in May, I wrote a post admitting that I was in a pretty serious depressive episode. Admitting it out loud was an important step for me to start to work on getting myself back to normal.

Or as normal as I can be.

I’m writing this post to say that I think I’m okay. I say “I think” because I don’t want to jinx it. It hasn’t been an easy climb out of the ol’ depression well. I’ve slipped a few times, including a major meltdown at the beginning of June. But I bounced back from it pretty quickly, which is a sign that I’m doing better. Another sign I’m doing better? PMS isn’t a doom trigger anymore. Adding a shit ton of hormones to a fucked up brain chemistry somehow doesn’t mix well. Who knew? And while PMS still isn’t pleasant, it’s back to what I consider normal.

Functioning has gotten easier, too. It’s easier to stick to my sleep schedule. I’m making better food choices. I’m exercising regularly and it’s easier for me to exercise (except for whatever the hell is going on with my right knee; it needs to accept that we’re doing this and stop being a pain). I’ve kept my work goals reasonable so I’m not frustrating myself on the days when I do struggle. But getting my work done has gotten easier. I feel like I can finally THINK now. I have the energy to deal with things in a reasonable time frame; I’m not always putting them off. Leaving the house no longer overwhelms me. And I’m more forgiving of myself on the days when things don’t go as planned.

Overall, I feel better.

How did I do this? The hard way, of course. I went back to the very basics of dealing with depression that my therapist taught me ages ago when I was first diagnosed. Exercising regularly, keeping my sleep schedule, doing something creative, going through my day the best I could, and journaling.

When I first went to therapy when I was 21 (holy shit that was like 18 years ago), my therapist correctly dragged my ass by saying that I haven a terrible tendency of keeping everything inside. I do not vent. I stress myself and don’t release the stress. I do not express my emotions well or enough. Now, this is because I’m not a very expressive person when it comes to the “negative” emotions, but it was also reinforced by my parents who didn’t tolerate expression of “negative” emotions well, particularly anger. Both of them have wicked tempers, but got real pissy if their kids were ever mad, particularly with them. Wild.

Anyway, my therapist encouraged journaling because it was a safe way to express my emotions. No one else would have to deal with what I was feeling so I wouldn’t have to deal with their reactions to what I was feeling and subsequently their feelings. Journaling is a one-on-one feelings things. It’s a way for me to examine my emotional mess without splattering anyone else.

I’ve been journaling on the reg since I was 22. I’ve put a lot of crazy on a lot of pages. And a lot of it has been anger and frustration and irritation that I would otherwise turn inward on myself. Shit that pissed me off that I was in no position to confront or change. Obsessive thoughts that I would otherwise ruminate about until they drove me mad. Journaling took that all out of my head, put it on the page, and let me look at it and deal with it.

There’s been a lot of picking things apart in those pages lately. A lot of facing up to some nasty truths and a lot of looking at things I’d rather not look at it.

But it’s been for the best. And the years of practice I’ve had of dealing with my hellscape of a brain this way has actually made doing it comforting. I feel like I’ve expressed some of the puss of an infection that was rotting away my insides. The abscess is healing.

Now all I gotta do is not pick at the scab.